By Rich White, Executive Director, Car Care Council
AutoCarePro: What is National Car Care Month and how does the Car Care Council promote the program.
Rich White: National Car Care Month in April is the ideal time for the Car Care Council and the industry to work together to focus the attention of motorists on the benefits of routine and proper vehicle care, maintenance and repair following winter and before the summer driving season. It’s also a chance to remind everyone that our industry keeps Americans on the road.
Central to celebrating National Car Care Month are community car care events hosted around the country by repair shops, parts stores and other aftermarket organizations that include free vehicle check-up events or inspections. Since the auto service and repair experience for the consumer is a local one, these types of community events can be powerful business-building events, building loyalty and attracting new customers.
While we believe that every month is car care month, we crank up intense media outreach for many weeks prior to April to ensure National Car Care Month is on the consumer media’s radar screen. We also work with the trade media to publicize and encourage industry involvement and leverage the widespread public attention to vehicle care being driven by the Council. We also conduct a robust social media campaign utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube to reach motorists of all ages in a variety of ways.
AutoCarePro: Is it easy for a shop to participate in National Car Care Month?
RW: The Car Care Council has a variety of resources and tools available at www.carcareindustry.com to make it easy for repair shops to get involved in National Car Care Month. For example, a repair shop could get a banner from the Council to celebrate Car Care Month, hang it over a bay and then invite current and prospective customers to come by for a free inspection and pick up a free Car Care Guide from the Council.
A shop could also partner with other shops or their jobber or distributor to host a larger event with free vehicle inspections. Community car care events can become more elaborate by including custom, race and antique cars on display, refreshments from a nearby restaurant and tables with educational materials, among other things.
AutoCarePro: Can you tell us a little more about the Council’s newly introduced online “Industry ToolBox”?
RW: Our new Industry ToolBox is available to the industry in advance of National Car Care Month at www.carcareindustry.com and makes it quick and easy to get involved. One popular feature of the ToolBox is the video titled “Drive Customers to Your Shop,” which highlights the benefits of participating in Car Care Month. The site also features “how to host” a community car care event instructions, printable materials and downloadable images, and Car Care Clip videos.
AutoCarePro: You’ve said the Car Care Council’s website, www.carcare.org, is designed to fuel confidence in automotive repair among vehicle owners. What are some of the most popular features of the site?
RW: We make a concerted effort to ensure that our website is the “go to” place for preventive vehicle maintenance and repair information. With National Car Care Month upon us, the site’s Car Care Event Finder has a map feature to make it easier for motorists to find a vehicle check-up event in their area, and it’s quick and easy for a shop to enter its community car care event information.
The site features a customized service interval schedule and an e-mail reminder service, a frequently updated blog to share the latest tips and advice, and a comprehensive vehicle systems overview. The Council’s popular Car Care Guide and the new “Ask a Tech” and “Go Green” sections offer insight and guidance for motorists.
And among the many instructional videos housed on the site, a new video titled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect” takes the guesswork out of auto service by giving consumers a behind-the-scenes look at the repair shop experience. All in all, www.carcare.org is a one-stop site that shops can share with their customers to help them drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.